IDRIS AHMED, LOKOJA.
Kidnappers of six ad hoc staff of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Kogi State have demanded N50m ransome for the release of their victims.
It would be recalled that some INEC ad hoc staff were kidnapped in Obajana at the early hours of Sunday, 19th March 2023 while returning to Lokoja after conducting the Kogi State House of Assembly election at Kupa north and south of Lokoja local government area.
Some hours after the unfortunate incidence, Kogi State Polic Public Relation Officer, (PPRO) SP William Aya, in a statement issued to journalists concerning the incident, disclosed that 96 persons were rescued by the Police, three injured while two victims were yet to be accounted for.
Addressing a press conference on Monday in Lokoja, on behalf of the kidnap victims families, an Assistant Presiding Officer II, in the March 18th House of Assembly election, Mr Babalola Oluwatobi Peter, said his sister is one of those still held in captivity.
Peter, faulted the claim by the Nigeria Police Force that all the kidnapped victims have been rescued.
He mentioned those still in the hands of the kidnappers as Muhammed Maimunat, and Abdulrahaman Raji, who are two serving Corps members, while other INEC ad-hoc staff still in captivity according are Oyaniran Atinuke Ruth, Florence Shayo Ajayi, Opara Tina and Blessing.
“We were actually coming from Kupa North and South for the Kogi State House of Assembly election. I worked in the North, so we left North some minutes past six and we got to the South at 8:03PM in which we were asked to proceed to Lokoja by our SPO’s. I told them personally that we are not going, that they should allow us to sleep, so that by 4am the next day, we should pick up and go just like the way we did during the Presidential election.
“But the SPO South said he wants to move. As an APO 2, I cannot just object to their proposal. All other Corp members told them to let us sleep over, but they insisted and we had no option than to move.
“When we got to Obajana, the armed robbers attacked us. We had six vehicles, and our vehicles happen to be the second one.
He disclosed that most of those kidnaped were directly from the bus conveying him and others have told the security agency including INEC officials that the abductors are still holding six people captive.
The families of the abducted persons complained that the Security agencies are not helping matters as they continue to tell us not to worry, that they will find them, while up till now, nothing has been done.
The victims’ families said they were shocked when I read in some newspapers that the victims have been rescued, while nothing of such happened.
They also disclosed that the abductors have contacted them recently, demanding for N50Million using different numbers and keep calling while you can’t call them.
He, however, called on the Government and security agencies to work towards the release of the abducted persons.
All efforts to speak with the Police Public Relations Officer, (PPRO) in Kogi State SP William Aya proved abortive as at the time of filing this report on Monday.